TO MY MOM

My mom will never read this. She doesn’t have a computer much less know what a blog is.

Let me tell you a little about her.

At three years old, my mom’s mother died in surgery. Ether poisoning. Her father, my grandfather, eventually remarried and my mom became part of a step-family. While she had step-brothers and -sisters, she always claims to be an only child with few living relatives. For a long time, I imagined her step-mother and step-sisters to be just like the ones in Cinderella, just because of the way my mom talked about them. I’m just now learning that it was my mom who cut herself off from them, not the other way around.

My mom slapped me. Once. I don’t remember why and I was pretty sure I was in my tween years, but I’ll never forget that later she came up to me, pulled me into a tight hug and apologized.

My mom is very conservative. The first time we talked about the birds and the bees it was after I got my first period and she found my stained (white) jeans in the laundry. She just told me where she kept the sanitary pads. The second and last time? On my first date when he showed up to take me out, just as I was heading for the door she said, “Now you know, you don’t have to do anything. You know that, right?”

My mom is terrible at spelling. Notes from her are purely an exercise in deciphering.

My mom is a latent bigot. I grew up hearing the word “n*gger”. Finally in junior high, I told her not to use that word as it is offensive. She then started to say “darkie”. Like that is somehow better.

My mom also says “Old Timers” (Alzheimer’s), “cousits” (cousins), “WalMartz” (WalMart) as well as starting almost every sentence with, “Anyways, …”

My mom use to have a little sliver of gold between each of her teeth in the top row. The original Grill.

My mom loves to tell the story of how when she moved from one little town to where she is now that she use to have her black hair braided into two pigtails. The other girls at the Catholic school all had fashionable curls and they would tease her relentlessly. One day after school, my mom had had enough. She popped the ring-leader of the teasing in the nose. About a decade later, that girl was the Maid-of-Honor at my mom’s wedding.

My mom still decorates the house for each Holiday even though no one may be coming home. However, if you did happen to stop by, there would be something in every room of the house that would be indicative of the holiday de jour.

My mom has the patient of a saint and the tolerance of Jesus himself. I remember one time at church how I was teasing my little sister and she slapped me soundly across the face. Soundly as in loudly. During the Homily. My mom didn’t even acknowledge the incident. I’m guessing now it was because she had hoped that anyone who had turned to see what the commotion was about wouldn’t see my mom’s inflamed face and realize her horrid little daughters were smacking each other around uncontrollably in church.

My mom either smells of onions (from peeling) or bleach (from cleaning). I now have an abnormal love for the smell of bleach.

My mom will crush any bug within reach with her bare fingers. There’s no screeching or reaching for a rolled up newspaper. It’s just “smoosh” and “crunch” and the bug is flat.

My mom is fearless. When we use to milk cows and a new heifer was introduced, we would leave the breaking in to mom. She’s five foot nothin’ but she could easily subdue a kicking cow with cleverly placed leverage and persistence.

My mom knows how to prepare blutwurst.

My mom knows how to clean a chicken. I don’t mean by giving it a bath, either, unless you count dunking the headless corpse of a chicken into a steaming hot bucket of water to make the plucking of feathers easier. Her favorite parts of the chicken to eat, even though she’s seen it at it’s absolute worst? Gizzard and heart.

My mom has this call that we all refer to as her “Yoohoo”. Since dad would always be in the field or the machine shop, it wasn’t convenient for mom to drive out to get him and of course, there were no cell phones. So she somehow learned to Yoohoo. Our neighbors, who live a couple miles away? They can hear her Yoohoo. She even can vary the Yoohoo enough so that dad can tell the difference between Yoohoo! (dinner/supper is ready) or YooHOO! (haul ass to the house, there’s an emergency!!).

My mom is almost 80 but when she comes over, XBoy is so excited! She will go in the basement and shoot nerf guns, play ball, throw the frisbee, play pool, etc. Whatever XBoy wants to do, she does it. Of course, this also means that when XBoy wants ice cream at 9:00 a.m. or wants a Ho-Ho for lunch, she does that as well.

My mom makes comments that are quintesentially passive-agressive. When we were building our home and we would proudly walk her through the construction, she would just shrug her shoulders and say, “I’ll never have anything as nice.”

My mom? I could go on and on and on, but you would never really know her. I still don’t know her completely. While she doesn’t hold back on her opinions, she’s an enigma. She loves her children and grandchildren fiercely but fears we don’t return that love.

Mom? I love you fiercely. I always have.

I always will.

Happy Mother’s Day.

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09.02 making stepping stone w gramma (4)